Two Ukrainian parishes win court claims over being illegally re-registered to schismatic OCU

Khmelnitsky and Volyn, February 7, 2020     

The rectors of two canonical Ukrainian parishes that were illegally re-registered to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” have won their court cases in defense of their churches.

In a recent interview, Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic OCU, complained that the flow of parish transitions to the OCU has dried up because the canonical Church opens court cases to protect its own property, clergy, and people.

On February 3, the Economic Court of Kiev declared illegal and quashed the order of the Khmelnitsky Province State Administration on the re-registration of the Church of St. Dimitry in the village of Stavnitsa in the Khmelnitsky Diocese of the canonical UOC to the schismatic OCU, lawyer Yaroslav Pasechnik told a correspondent of the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

Residents of Stavnitsa at the Church of St. Dimitry, February 2019. Photo: Residents of Stavnitsa at the Church of St. Dimitry, February 2019. Photo:     

“We saw the independence of judges in Kiev, when they paid attention to the violations committed by the authorities and made a balanced and fair decision,” Pasechnik said.

The court’s decision will come into effect after the deadline for appeal 20 days after the court’s decision, though the administration has noted they will not appeal. The church remains closed and unused until that time.

Residents of Stavnitsa who have no relation to the parish voted on February 6, 2019 to force the church into the OCU, and on April 12, the Khmelnitsky Provincial State Administration registered the church charter as part of the OCU.

Earlier, on January 14, the Volyn District Administrative Court satisfied the claim of Archpriest Vladimir Meles, the rector of the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Sadov in the Volyn Province, against the Volyn Provincial State Administration and the Volyn Department of Culture on Matters of Religions and Nationalities, reports the press service of the Volyn Diocese.

Fr. Vladimir requested that the Department of Culture confirm or deny the fact of making changes to the constituent documents of the parish community, which the Department declined to do. The court recognized this inactivity as illegal and ordered that the Department consider Fr. Vladimir’s request, according to the law “On Public Information.”

The Kazan Church was captured by schismatics in February last year, who have also been threatening Fr. Vladimir and his family to leave their house where he currently serves.

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